Have you ever heard of the female/athlete paradox? Well, we live in a society which is still mostly based on the idea that being feminine by definition is not big, imposing and competitive. In fact, women who are feminine are not pitiless, aggressive, or victorious. To have a merciless instinct, to desire to win no matter what, is unfortunately still not perceived as feminine.
Femininity is defined by the ability to appear lovely, fragile, and little. It's all about gaining masculine acceptance.
And why does that happen? Well, many psychological studies state that all these gender adjectives were imposed by society hundreds of years ago and still hold some value nowadays. These can be based on cultural norms and include stereotypes that contribute to gender roles and gender classification. As a result, the adjectives associated with masculinity and femininity may differ slightly depending on an individual's ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, or social class.
Is this only related to personality? No! Actually, this paradox lives even within our physical aspect. There is a term called ‘body type’ in which females are expected to have slim, delicate, and lean bodies, whilst males are expected to have massive, toned, and well-defined muscles.
Can you see the problem here? When males compete in sports that demand speed, strength, and power, they are viewed as heroes and adored not just for their athletic accomplishments, but also for their physical looks as symbols of hegemonic masculinity. Female athletes who do not necessarily match the hegemonic feminine ideal, on the other hand, have greater challenges in their careers as they try to strike a balance between a feminine image and the masculine traits connected with their sports.
When it comes to fashion and sports most people assume that female athletes lack flair or wear nothing but sweatpants and sports bras. But who says you can't participate in the Olympics while looking chic, elegant, and stylish in your daily life? We are convinced that our fellow Italian sportswomen have a distinct sense of flair that will captivate audiences.
Our first athlete is the beautiful Antonella Palmisano, from Mottola, Italy. She is an Italian racewalker who finished third in the 20 km race walk at the 2017 World Championships, fourth at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and fifth at the 2015 World Championships. She participated in the same division this year and won the gold medal. Antonella, we congratulate you and wish you continued success!
So, what's her personal style like? Antonella shares several photos of her vacation ensembles on her Instagram account (@nellypalmi). We were smitten by the bright bikini she wore in Sardinia. If you enjoyed it as much as we did, we recommend looking through Caruli's swimwear line, which includes stunning pieces such as the Lemon Patterned bralette bikini.
Moving on to our next athelete, Irma Testa is a 23-year-old boxer from Torre Annunziata, Italy. She won bronze in the women's lightweight category at the 2020 Summer Olympics. She has previously competed in the European Championships, winning a gold medal, and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, where she won a silver medal.
Irma publishes numerous images of her trainings on her personal account (@iosonoirmatesta), but we often see her sporting everyday ensembles that are marked by the urban style. For example, in this photo, Irma is dressed in a black sports bra with loose trousers, a colourful bomber jacket, and a small purse for the ultimate chic look.
If you like the current urban appearance, you won't want to miss our amazing and luxurious designer IMHO's new bomber jackets. These bomber jackets are a one-of-a-kind mix of colour and functionality. Perfect for your everyday casual looks!
Elisa Longo Borghini is an Italian professional road cyclist who currently competes with Trek–UCI Segafredo's Women's WorldTeam. Elisa has a long list of contests under her belt, but she earned bronze in the 137 km women's road race at the Olympics this year.
Although her social media page (@elisalongob) did not reveal much about her personal style, we were immediately smitten by this candid photo she shared with a relative. The mix of delicate and creamy pink colours and the jacket's brilliant texture makes it one of our favourites straight away.
Did you, too, fall in love? Don't worry! We've got you covered! Cristina Gavioli's Freyed hem hot pink tweed jacket will do the trick. This luxurious tweeded jacket is a must-have for every fashionista’s wardrobe. The combination of hot pink and a loose fit with no buttons will make it your favourite summer-autumn ensemble.
Elisa Longo Borghini
Mara Navarria is a 36-year-old right-handed épée fencer from Carlino, Udine, in northern Italy. She has competed in numerous European and World Championships, and this year she won an Olympic bronze medal for the first time with her team. Congratulations!
Her personal style is defined by sophisticated yet comfy garments that give her a simple but stylish appearance. This gorgeous jacket, which she wears with a black T-shirt for a smart-casual style, is our personal favourite item of apparel from her social media account (@mara navarria). It's fantastic!
If you enjoy this style, we have a similar alternative to give you. The garment in question is Quarantuno's Army Tweed Slim-fit Jacket. It's reminiscent of a classic and exclusive Chanel style, and it's ideal for fall in the city. The colour and design allow for a variety of looks.
Federica Isola, like Mara Navarria, is a member of the Women's Italian Épée Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She is a 21-year-old Milanese woman. She previously earned a bronze medal in the team event at the 2019 World Fencing Championships and a bronze medal in the individual event at the 2019 European Fencing Championships.
Being part of the Gen Z generation, Federica shares many of her daily outfits in her social media profiles (@federica.isola). We've seen a lot of different styles, but this classic and contemporary mix struck our eye. The athlete is dressed in a white blouse with a little cleavage and high winged sleeves. The embellishments on the sides of the sculpture are fantastic. We are obsessed!
In case you're seeking for something comparable, we recommend Cristina Gavioli's White cutout ruffle top. We adore the lace embellishments in the cleavage region, which gives it a more traditional but still luxurious and fashionable style. Because it is composed entirely of cotton, the top is light and breathable. Perfect for hot summer days!
On a similar note, the Italian Rhythmic Gymnastics shared a group photo of all the integrants who recently earned a bronze medal at the Olympics, including Martina Centofanti, Agnese Duranti, Alessia Maurelli, Daniela Mogurean, and Martina Santandrea. With this puffed sleeve shirt and tight shiny black leggings, the girls have created a highly exquisite style. We loved how this look perfectly portrayed the Italian essence.
And yes! If you wish to include the essence of Italy into your daily clothes, we have a similar alternative. Quarantuno's exquisite classic white embroidered shirt with frills will add a vintage elegance to your ensemble. Combine it with dark trousers to highlight this luxurious shirt.
We came across Agnese Duranti's (@agnese duranti) Instagram account and couldn't resist but share this incredible outfit with you. What a powerful dress! Colorful, floral, and lace-decorated around the waist. Agnese completed her look with a pair of slender dark heels, which are the perfect finishing touch to an incredible ensemble.
If you truly liked this style, you must visit Melania Fumiko’s section. It is filled with colourful summerish dresses that will make you feel empowered and unique. The Camille Fiori Rossa Dress was our top pick, a wonderfully fitting dress with blooming flowers, an American neckline, and a pink cady crepe horizontal band.
The blooming flower heels from The Italian Secrets seemed to be the perfect match for this dress. The pearly champagne colour contrasts beautifully with the dress's gentle tones. The shoes also have open toes and are perched on dizzying stiletto heels. Perfect for summer events!
Our last athlete is Maria Centracchino, an Italian judoka who won gold in the Women's 63 kg division at the 2019 Judo Grand Prix Tel Aviv. In 2021, she competed for Italy at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, winning bronze in the 63kg division by defeating Juul Franssen from The Netherlands. Congratulazioni Maria!
Maria enjoys sharing her daily workouts, but she also occasionally posts more personal photos that show her daily style (@mariacentracchio94). Our favorite look has loose camel trousers paired with a white laced top. The waist of the trouser had a bow tie detail that we really liked. They're ideal for smart-casual ensembles!
And, of course, we have a similar pick for you! Cristina Gavioli's tailored high-waisted bow tie trousers would look great with plain white t-shirts and a light blazer or overshirt. In fact, why not pair it with our Riviera top, which is luxurious, elegant, and graceful? Hand fringing adorns the outfit, which also features knotted shoulder straps and a romantic empire curl in the bodice. If you want to know more, visit our So Mos section.
Despite conventional Western views that dualistic gender conceptions prevent women from participating in sports, more women are defying these stereotypes by competing and thriving in a number of sports. And we have seen it this year! Nearly 5,400 women competed in the Olympics this year (49% of all participants), making it the largest participation rate in the history of the event. This is incredible, and we are so proud of each and every lady that represented her country.
Even if professional athletes are required to wear a lot of sporting gear on a regular basis due to training, this does not preclude them from developing a personal style in their spare time. Even if their body type is different from what society defines as feminine!
We admire how Italian athletes embrace their culture and intrinsic fashion sense, which ranges from traditional to sophisticated to romantic and lavish.
We would like to thank every single woman who has participated in the Olympics, from the athletes to the competition staff members, on behalf of The Italian Secrets family.
Congratulations to everyone! Congratulazioni a tutti!
The Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and we can't wait!